4 Things To Look For When Purchasing a Second Hand Piano

4 Things To Look For When Purchasing a Second Hand Piano

When it comes to buying a new piano for your home, you might start by thinking of a brand new model. But with a little research, you might start dreaming of a used piano instead. 

There are many advantages to purchasing a second hand piano. Let’s start with value. 

All you have to do is search online, and you’ll find a variety of options ready and waiting for you. Search Craigslist, and you can find people offering used pianos for free. Before you fall for these ads, take a little time to learn more about the value of the instrument. In some cases, investing in a second hand piano can be a good investment. If you’re not careful, you can bring home something that will cost you even more down the road. 

Remember, a piano has over 10,000 moving parts in an acoustic piano. To ensure each piece works together to provide beautiful music, it takes a high quality instrument to ensure every detail is doing its part. 

Strings and soundboard

The heart of a piano begins with the way the piano creates sound. That can’t happen without the strings and the soundboard. The strings create over 18 tons of pressure as they are stretched into place within the pinblock. This steel and copper wire is taut perfectly to create the intended sound. Over time, these wires need to be tuned to create the right amount of tension to continue bringing the proper sound. If these strings are neglected for any length of time, they might not be repairable, meaning the only way to correct it will be through replacement. 

The soundboard provides the proper structure to take the string vibrations and reflect it as the tone. Created from wood, this board can become richer and warmer in tone as it ages. However, if the piano is neglected, it can lose its tonal quality.

The piano keys

This is one of the first things most buyers look at, but it’s important to give them a second look. Are they dirty or discolored? If you look between the keys, it can help you further determine overall health. If the keys are subjected to moisture, they might be warped or damaged. Well maintained piano keys should be smooth to the touch, and responsive as you press them down and release them. If you feel sticking, it could be from broken action or worn hammers. 

The piano – inside and out

One of the easiest ways to determine the overall quality of a second hand piano is with a visual inspection. Check out the cabinet. Open the top and peer inside. Do you see scratches, dents, damaged hinges, broken parts, or neglect? You can often tell if neglect is trying to be covered up. 

It can also be a good indicator if you can trace the piano’s history. Can you follow where the piano has been throughout its life? Was it well cared for? Did it have ongoing maintenance? A red flag can come from a comment of “I don’t know.”

Play the piano

The piano isn’t designed to be on display as artwork. It’s intended to be played. So play it. Sit down and play a favorite song. Just starting? When you work with a dealer, they are happy to put the piano into action and help you hear the tonal quality of each piano you consider. 

Overall, if you’re interested in music, you already have a tonal quality you like to hear. By investing in a second hand piano, you can often get the rich tones of a well cared for instrument, at an affordable price. 

When will you bring home your new piano and start playing? 

The Benefits of Buying a Digital Piano

The Benefits of Buying a Digital Piano

If you’re in the market for a new piano, you may have come across digital pianos in your search. Could this be the perfect instrument for your home?

Here are six reasons why digital pianos might be right for you.

  1. Many affordable options

Acoustic pianos are a classic instrument for a reason. They’re beautiful and complex instruments that sound beautiful. However, even the most basic models can be expensive to purchase. 

Digital pianos, on the other hand, start at a few thousand dollars lower than acoustic pianos. If cost has been holding you back from getting a piano, a digital piano might be a good solution for you.

  1. They can have a similar feel and sound as an acoustic piano

If you’ve ever played on a keyboard, you might know that it’s not the same experience as playing a piano. There’s not as much weight to the keys, and it can feel like playing a different instrument entirely. It also doesn’t have the same rich sound.

So are digital pianos the same? If you haven’t tried one out recently, we recommend that you test one out in person. You might be surprised at how much it feels and sounds like an acoustic instrument. Modern digital pianos even mimic the feel of acoustic pianos by weighting their keys with hammers. 

Sound quality and the feel of the instrument do depend on the quality of the piano, however, and a lower-end digital piano might not feel or sound exactly like an acoustic instrument. For this reason, it’s important to test the piano out in person to see if you like it.

  1. The ability to wear headphones while playing

If you live in a household with your family, you might worry about bothering others while you practice a song over and over again. With a digital piano though, you’ll be able to plug your headphones in and practice in your own world. You can also adjust the volume as you play.

  1. No more tuning

Since digital pianos don’t have strings that will go out of tune, you’ll never need a professional tuner to come by and service your piano. As well, digital pianos are less sensitive to temperature and humidity levels. While you may need some maintenance work over your piano’s lifetime, digital pianos are overall easier to maintain.

  1. Great for new piano learners

Digital pianos have a number of features that make learning easy and fun for new players. Smart accompaniments, guide lights, recording features, background rhythms, built-in songs, and different instrument voices all make learning engaging for children and adults alike.

  1. Can last you for decades

Other technology like phones and computers are quickly replaceable, so what about a digital piano? Will it last for a long time, or will you have to replace it when it becomes outdated? The great news is that, with proper care and maintenance, your digital piano can last you for decades. 

Is a digital piano the right instrument for you?

Why Buying A New Piano Is A Great Investment In Your Future

Why Buying A New Piano Is A Great Investment In Your Future

Some things you buy and consume quickly. Others, you buy to hold as an investment. You want it to have a lasting impact well into the future. 

Pianos fall into the latter category. When you purchase a piano, you do so for the love of music. If you invest wisely, it can last for decades. 

But what does it take to get a good one? If you’re considering buying a piano this year, what should you look for?

Think quality first

Playing the piano is on many people’s to-do lists. The trouble is, they approach the hobby in the wrong way. If you buy a keyboard from the local big box store, it won’t have the qualities you need to learn properly. It’s nothing more than a toy. 

To ensure you have a quality instrument to play, it’s important to consider your goals. Do you want to play for personal enjoyment? Do you hope to play in front of an audience one day? Or maybe even form your own band? Use that as your goal for learning and purchase. Yes, you can always trade a starter piano in for a higher quality instrument. But if you purchase a high quality piano from the start, it will last well into the future. Sound is everything. You can’t create a pleasing sound on a poor quality instrument. 

That also means investing in a piano that won’t change sound quality quickly. Pick up a “free” piano on Craigslist, and you may have a less-than-stable piano with a voice that sounds “off” and an instrument that just can’t stay in tune. 

Warranties

A piano can be a significant investment. And when you build a budget for your piano to ensure you buy a high quality instrument, nothing can be more discerning than not getting what you thought you invested in. 

Warranties can protect your piano from manufacturer’s default. Some dealers may offer additional services and plans to help you care for your piano in the years to come. Be sure you ask about all the dealer covers. You won’t get that if you buy off the internet. 

Why dealers are still the best choice

With so many pianos available in so many ways, people often wonder why they should turn to a professional. It’s because of advice and service. 

A dealer is passionate about playing the piano. They know the instrument inside and out, and can teach you all you need to know to make an educated purchase. They can even provide insight for things like classes and training.

Is this the year you’ll be buying a new piano? Are you ready to bring music into your life? 

The Most Important Questions To Ask When Buying a New Piano

The Most Important Questions To Ask When Buying a New Piano

It’s time to start thinking about fall classes and activities. As we head back into schools and classrooms, there’s more than reading, writing, and arithmetic to keep a mind active. It’s also about finding something challenging – entertaining – that can provide a lifelong hobby you’ll love for years. 

For many, playing an instrument fulfills all that and more. Playing the piano is a way to relax after a hard day at work, take pride in your accomplishments, and even share melodies with an audience. But it all starts with learning to play the piano. And you can’t do that until you buy a piano of your own. 

Thinking of buying a new piano in the future? Before you settle on one, we have a few important questions you should ask the seller before making up your mind. 

What should I know about this brand of piano? 

Like everything, pianos are created by reputable manufacturers that produce quality instruments, and less-than-credible resources that produce low quality products. The last thing you want is to spend money on a piano, only to find out quickly that it won’t suit your needs. And if it doesn’t sound right, it becomes difficult to play. You need high quality equipment to learn to play it well. 

What are other comparable pianos around the same price point so I can compare?

You should never invest in the first piano you see. Sit down at several of them. Listen to the sound produced by all of them, and compare how they play. You’ll quickly notice the difference, and have preferences one way or the other. The key here is to ensure you’re looking at high quality instruments that are all similar in style, and can all be worthy of purchase. 

How about a warranty? What does it cover?

Many new pianos – and sometimes used – have warranties. You’re only eligible if you purchase the piano from an authorized dealer. 

Which are the most popular pianos you sell? Why? 

Every dealer has their own preference for piano manufacturers. Find out which they sell the most of and why. This is a good place to start your comparison shopping. If others like it and enjoy a certain brand or model, you can consider it too. 

Do you have a trade-up program?

Many people start with a start-up piano, and once they learn the basics and want to push their skills, they look for a more sophisticated instrument. Find out if the dealer you’re working with has a trade-up program, to allow you to upgrade your piano as you gain experience. 

How do I care for this piano?

While it may look like another piece of furniture, it requires a great deal more upkeep and care. While you can search online and find a lot of different care strategies, the best place to go for advice is from the source. A reputable piano dealer will point you in the right direction for regular care and maintenance, as well as give you resources for tuning and repair work. Follow their guidance, and you’ll have years of enjoyment without problems. 

Before You Buy – The Real Differences Between a Keyboard and a Piano

Before You Buy – The Real Differences Between a Keyboard and a Piano

Thinking of buying a piano to learn to play? 

With just a few searches, you might already be stumped at what equipment to buy. Should you purchase an acoustic piano? What about a keyboard? Or a digital piano? What’s the difference? Where should you begin?

As a piano dealer, this is one of the most common questions we receive. 

It’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially when you start looking at prices. You can easily find a keyboard at your local big box store for very little money. And acoustic pianos – they’re giving them away on Craigslist. 

What’s the difference? And what should you choose? 

One of the most obvious differences is size. Acoustic pianos take up space inside your home. Keyboards are small, portable, and can be tucked away when not in use. That can be a big bonus for a family without a lot of space. But that’s also where a lot of people go wrong. 

Keyboards aren’t necessarily equal to pianos. They can be smaller in size, which equates to fewer keys. A full size piano has 88 keys. A beginner might not use them all, but with practice and growth, you’ll quickly stretch and need a fuller range. Keyboards may typically be 61 to 76 keys, and often aren’t weighted like a piano’s keys. That means the skills aren’t transferable. When you learn on a keyboard, it’ll seem like a new instrument when you move to an acoustic piano. Your fingers simply won’t know what to do. 

Pianos also have more voice and depth in the way they play. Imagine wanting to play a familiar tune, yet it sounds tinny, off somehow. People rarely choose to play when they can’t get the sound they’re looking for. That comes from a high quality instrument. 

Keyboards also come with their own way of playing. They may teach you to play chords with the left hand, using the electronics to keep the beat, Use a button to change the tempo, create a beat, and have the keys do the work. 

Also, keep in mind there is a difference between a keyboard and a digital piano. A digital piano offers you everything an acoustic piano does, while a keyboard focuses more on making music at the touch of a button.

To be an accomplished musician, and to truly understand the art of creating music with a piano, it’s important to start with the right tool. 

We can help educate you on understanding today’s pianos, and help you make the right choice for your needs. 

What Can Be Fixed Easily After Buying a Used Piano?

What Can Be Fixed Easily After Buying a Used Piano?

What started out as a good deal can suddenly turn into a headache. You wanted a piano for your child to learn to play on, and all you got were problems. 

We hear that story a lot. 

When you start the process of buying a used piano, you might not understand what can be easily fixed, and what is a much larger endeavor. We’re here to help. 

Piano parts that can be easily fixed:

Piano body – dings, scratches, and other blemishes can be filled. You can also paint or stand the piano body with a bit of effort. Keep in mind that body damage is often a signal of neglect, which means further damage might exist on the inside. 

Keys – if chips or other blemishes occur on the ivory or black keys, they can be repaired easily. If a piano is old enough where the keys are still made from ivory, ivory can no longer be used in commercial applications. 

Strings – if a string is broken or missing, it can be replaced. Keep in mind that new strings won’t match the tonal quality of existing strings, meaning you might hear it in the way you play. 

Hammer felt – layers of felt can deteriorate over time. Smoothing out hammer felt can give you more years of playing. 

Soundboard – soundboards are created from several different layers of wood. Over time, these can crack under pressure or from varying temperature variations. A cracked soundboard can also detach from the ribs, which produces a buzzing sound as you play. Depending on the severity of the crack and how many other parts it impacts, it can be replaced easier than other parts within a piano. 

Piano parts more difficult to replace:

Pinblock – the pinblock provides the pins in which the strings are attached. Once this fails, it requires a complete rebuild. 

Hammers – while hammer felts can be replaced without extensive repair, the hammers themselves are a more expensive endeavor. If they are broken or have worn through the wood, it might be a complete restoration. 

Bridges – the strings lay across the bridges and resonate sound through the soundboard. Without these bridges, the piano wouldn’t function. It’s also a difficult repair that requires extensive time and expense to get it right. 

Buying a used piano? Before you take it home, make sure you know its playability. Some things are easy to fix. Some are more difficult, and costly. We can help you find the right used piano that will give you years of playing. How can we help you? 

Is It Okay To Buy a Used Piano?

Is It Okay To Buy a Used Piano?

For many hobbyists, the thought of playing the piano can be exciting. It can fulfill a childhood dream of making music. It can be a healthy pursuit as you age. 

But if you’re intimidated by new piano prices, you might have turned to used pianos. Are they worth it? What should you know before you buy a used piano?

First, understand there are risks when buying anything used. If you’re purchasing from an individual based on a Craigslist ad, you could wind up with a piano with lots of problems. It’ll take a lot of money bringing it back up to working quality, and that can defeat the purpose of trying to get a “good deal.”

Buying a used piano doesn’t have to be scary. You can find great used pianos that will give you years of enjoyment. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you shop. 

The lifespan of an acoustic piano

The average acoustic piano is designed to be playable for about 60 years. That means a piano sitting in the house of your grandmother since she was a little girl might have reached its peak. There are thousands of working parts inside, and any one of them can wear down or break over time. This is where it pays to know a piano’s backstory – was it well cared for, tuned regularly, and repaired and restored as needed? 

Tuning is important

Often, pianos are left in a room forgotten as a family grows, interests change, and time marches on. Even if a piano isn’t used, it still needs regular maintenance to keep it operating well. Weather changes, climate and humidity changes, and other effects from normal living can all impact the different parts of a piano. Piano strings can pull or stretch even if you don’t play it regularly. Rust can form. Wood can warp and wear out. Keys stick, and the action can cause further damage. All of this is caught by regular tuning and maintenance. Without it, a piano can deteriorate quickly. 

Not all brands are equal

Ford. Mercedes. Walmart. Gucci. One word can evoke different thoughts and impressions. It works with pianos too. Because pianos were once all the rage, a lot of manufacturers jumped in and tried to make a buck. Cheap imitations may have seemed like a good deal, but people quickly found out these pianos weren’t much better than toys. That also means they won’t hold their value over time, nor will they be quality instruments for you to practice on and enjoy as you learn to play. Stick with reputable pianos – this is where we can help you find a piano that will stand the test of time. 

Moving a piano can be expensive

Sure, you can take the piano stored in a friend’s neighbor’s basement. All you have to do is move it. That’s where the real headache begins. A professional mover ensures the piano stays safe and the movers avoid risk. Pianos are heavy, bulky items that can’t be moved as easily as a sofa or table.  Your friend’s neighbor might try and help you wedge it up the stairs and around corners. We ensure your used piano arrives safely in your home, a quality instrument ready for you to play. 

4 Things To Compare When Buying A New Piano

4 Things To Compare When Buying A New Piano

For many purchases we make in life, we spend time doing a fair amount of research before making our decisions. Of course, a three-dollar item is easier to decide on than a three-hundred-dollar item. The more we’ll have invested means more time thinking about the outcome. 

From the moment you start looking at pianos, you know they’re different. You can search online and find free pianos on Craigslist. You can also find resources for one-of-a-kind pianos that will run in the millions of dollars.

Why the difference? How do you know if you’re getting a good piano? How do you trust your decision? 

Before you make your final selection, there are a few things to compare before buying a new piano. 

Sound

A piano is a piano, right? If you’ve ever sat down and played one, you know that isn’t true. If you play three different pianos, you’ll likely hear three very different sounds. A lot goes into sound creation: materials used, construction, and placement of the piano. It also makes a difference in the way you play. If you don’t “feel” the sound a piano makes, it might not be an enjoyable experience. Test several and learn the difference. You’ll be amazed at what you hear. 

Feel

You can tell a real piano from a toy. They feel different. The keys are weighted to allow you to control the keys as you play correctly. Without learning to play with a properly functioning keyboard, you won’t be able to transfer your skills from one piano to another. Sit down and touch the keys – feel the way they move. You can tell the difference. 

Looks

While you should always buy a piano based on the way it plays, looks can be important in determining which is the best instrument for you. Do you like the finish? The size? The color? You should also take a peek inside the kid and ensure everything looks clean and well cared for, especially if you’re buying used. Even if you have never played before, a quick peek inside can alert you to potential problems before you buy. 

Warranty

What happens if you get your piano home and there’s a problem? If you buy from a dealer, you may have a warranty to cover certain faults. If you buy from an individual, you’ll probably take it as-is, and be on your own to correct whatever potential problems you have. 

Buying a piano can be a major purchase. Rather than having buyer’s remorse as soon as you get home, spend a few minutes with these four comparisons to ensure you select the right piano for your needs. 

Weighted Keys vs Unweighted Keys – What Does That Mean?

Weighted Keys vs Unweighted Keys – What Does That Mean?

A piano is a piano, right? 

Think again. 

While that might have been true years ago with acoustic pianos, with the onset of digital and electronic keyboards, that’s no longer true. 

Those keyboards you can pick up cheaply from your local big box store? They might look good on display. But once you sit down and try to play them, they might hold you back from learning. 

One of the biggest differences is the way the keys work. Are you working with weighted keys or unweighted keys? What’s the difference? 

Let’s start with a traditional acoustic piano. If you’ve ever sat down and pushed the keys, you might have felt a little resistance. That’s known as “weight”. The keys are weighted for spring action, to be sensitive to the way you touch and play them. 

If you want to play a traditional piano – vertical or grand – knowing how to play weighted keys will be a distinct advantage. 

When you move to the digital and electronic niche, you’ll find that keyboards typically come with unweighted keys, and digital pianos have weighted keys. 

The difference usually comes with cost. Less expensive models won’t create the weighted feeling. They don’t do what’s necessary to mirror the experience of an acoustic piano. 

The touch sensitivity is subtle. However, having a weighted keyboard allows you to practice and build up finger strength as you play. 

Before you invest in a piano or keyboard, as yourself one question: What is your ultimate goal? 

If you hope to transfer your skills to learn piano in many different ways, starting with a weighted keyboard will help you in the long run. It will give you the skills necessary to move freely from one instrument to another, without having to retrain for a new feeling. 

What It Takes To Build A Piano

What It Takes To Build A Piano

Take a look around you. What does it take to make all of the things you use on a regular basis?

Your computer is made from plastics, composites, semiconductors, and metals. 

Your coffee pot is made from plastic, metal, and glass. 

Many things are sent through an assembly line, put together quickly and shipped from the factory and into your home. 

But what about a piano? What does it take to build a piano? 

Modern pianos use a variety of materials, including high quality wood, metal, steel wire, and molten iron. 

Wood is used in crafting the rim and creating the outer case, as well as many internal parts. Metal is used to develop the cast iron plate, while molten iron is used for the casting process. 

Of course, there is a difference between the creation of a one-of-a-kind Steinway, and lower-end, budget-friendly pianos. But in general, all pianos take time to move from beginning to completion. 

The rim is one of the most critical processes, made of wood to give it its strength. You’ll find different manufacturers prefer different species of wood, with spruce and maple varieties topping the list because of their tonal properties. It’s also up to the species to create a dense and hard structure for building the rest of the piano around. Because the rim is curved and smoothed into place, wood is the best choice. 

For a grand piano, it requires construction of both an inner and outer rim. Layers of wood are pressed together, giving it its unique shape. The inner edge also contains things such as the pinblock, cross block, and braces that support the soundboard. These are molded, sanded, lacquered, before being joined together. 

The structural components are created and applied to the piano. The pinblock and cast iron plate generate the framework for supporting the tension of the strings. This isn’t an easy process. Engineers use a variety of raw materials to complete molds before final construction. It takes detailed work to incorporate each part into the final product, drilling holes, placing pins, and tying it all together. 

The soundboard is all an essential component. Without it, you wouldn’t have a piano’s classic sound. While a grand piano has a horizontally placed soundboard, an upright stores the soundboard vertically behind the strings and frame. It’s important for a soundboard to move through production correctly to achieve a set moisture content to be able to give support to the structure, before being curved and installed into place. 

The piano keys of today are made from a durable ivory-like plastic – ivory is no longer installed, and is illegal to sell. You may hear them referred to as “ebony and ivory”, but both are dyed and created from plastic. 

The piano strings are steel wire, strung at varying lengths and diameters to produce different tonal qualities for all 88 keys. 

Finally, the keys are laid into place on a keyboard that makes the instrument playable. This keyboard is a lightweight wood designed to hold all 88 keys snugly into place, while protecting them and making them playable for years to come. 

Want to know more about the differences between brands? Want to determine which brand will suit your needs? Stop by today, and we’ll help you find the right piano for your family.